Today my free iPhone 4 bumper arrived from Apple.
This is a moulded bit of black plastic that fits all the way around the edge of the phone. It completely covers the metal strip and slightly raises the profile of the device on the front and back but doesn’t cover the glass of the phone.
First impressions are that, in comparison to the phone itself which feels futuristic and high quality, the bumper feels cheap and mass produced. Also it’s not as soft and elastic as I expected. It’s actually quite hard, shiny on the side edges and slightly rubbery on the front and back raised parts.
It was very easy to fit around the phone with a little fiddling to ensure a smooth fit where it meets the glass. All the buttons and ports are still easily accessible.
I like the fact that it lifts the glass away from whatever flat surface the phone’s put on. Elimating fear of scratches to the glass or, more importantly, the camera. Also the slightly rubbery feel stops the phone sliding about. (Mine’s taken a burton a couple of times off the arm of the sofa. Shiny glass equals no grip.)
However, I’m reminded of the scene in the film Contact where they build a space flight vehicle based on specifications given to them but they decide to add a chair. The whole vehicle shakes and rattles until the pilot realises what’s happening and gets out of the chair to travel, floating peacefully, in the sphere.
The iPhone 4, in my view, is a beautiful bit of design. Yes I prefer the comfortable shape of the iPhone 3 but the 4’s flat glass sides are gorgeous to touch and look at. The alloy strip around the edge is cool to the touch and tactile where it covers the join between the two glass plates. The buttons are satisfying to click. It looks like nothing else. Well, maybe a funky paperweight in an posh art gallery.
The bumper just craps all over the beauty of the iPhone 4.
So for me It’s a choice between slightly improved practicality or the purity of the original design. I’ve left it on for now, mostly due to novelty value, but I imagine it’ll be gathering dust in a drawer before too long.